Minimalist Health and Fitness for Busy Parents

World on fire. In a good way.

My life becomes busy when poor time management practice clashes with not having my priorities right. That’s all it is. To me, “being busy” belongs in the same category as “I am not motivated”. Both statements are just the end result from lack of discipline.

Lack of discipline to get away with not doing shit I don’t feel like doing.

Sure, sometimes life is relentless and there is little time for activities beyond of the basic functions required to stay alive. Being a sleep-deprived parent of a newborn comes to mind, as it’s relevant to us at the moment.

But even then there are ways to get stuff done. What it requires though is taking full ownership of our actions.

I doubt I will look back at these times as being the most productive times I ever had on the gym floor. But training and “being healthy” doesn’t have to perfect to be good. To make health and fitness work during hectic times we have to get over the “if I don’t have an hour to exercise I might as well just scroll Facebook, eat a bag of Doritos and shower in lemon sherbet” – mentality.

Here’s things I’ve implemented lately. I’ve also added an alternatives I am doing when there’s no time for anything else. That being said, on most days I do these extra little things regardless.

Also, there are times when absolutely nothing gets done.

Training the body

A family-walk for an hour 2-3 times a week…

This has been a great way to spend time as a family since Elias was born. Sure it requires more effort to leave the house than just to pull the sneakers (and pants) on, but we get it done few days a week. And some days we don’t, it’s just the way things go at the moment.

…Or getting off the bus one stop early to walk extra 150 meters

I’ve done this each morning for the past 3 months. It started because I got sick of sitting on a bus, but has become a healthy thing to do after I did the maths the other day: walking extra 150 meters in the morning, four days a week, 48 weeks a year (holidays etc) adds up to just short of 30 kilometres a year. As a reference, full marathon is 42 kilometres.

That’s a lot for something that takes me barely 2 minutes each morning.

…Or 6-10 minutes conditioning 2 times per week

At the moment I am doing this on Tuesdays and Fridays after my strength work. Using either a prowler (we have a SkillMill – machine at work which sort of does the job), kettlebell swings, battle ropes, or a bike. 20 seconds on, 40 seconds recovery x 6-10. 

If you’re wondering why I do this, here’s a great article by StrongFirstUnderstanding Why “Less Is More” With Anti-GLycolytic Training.

30-45 minute strength session 2-3 times per week…

I am doing a carry variation, two work sets of two low body exercises, and two work sets of two upper body exercise. And yes, I do the same exercises every single day so I don’t have to think of it. I’ll do my movement prep and a  carry and get into it. Some days I go heavy, some days I don’t. Depending on how the body feels.

… Or a 10-20 minute swing and push up session 2-3 times a week

This is what I did when I was at home for two weeks after the birth. Single arm swings and push ups for 10-20 minutes, depending on how much time I had. With enough break in the middle to recover. And yes, it’s brutal. 

Few 45 minute mobility sessions per week

The chances of getting this done flew out of the window when Elias came around. I’ll get back to it when things settle.

…Or 5 minute joint mobility first thing in the morning

So instead I do my joint mobility each morning following the Functional Range Conditioning principles. By doing controlled articular rotations in the kitchen while the coffee is brewing.

I also incorporate joint mobility in the movement prep before strength sessions. But let’s be honest, all of this is to maintain what I have. Not to progress my mobility. Some things gotta give temporarily to make room for baby cuddles. 

Training the mind

10 minute meditation first thing in the morning

I sit down in the chair and set Calm app for 10 minutes. That’s it. Oh, and have a cat or two on my lap. They use me as a radiator in the winter.

…Or “meditate” while feeding or cuddling Elias

Not eyes closed or anything. It’s more about being present and not let my mind wander, not to use my phone, watch television or any other distractions. I still classify it as meditation of being present.

Cooking and eating acrobatics

Prep a shit-ton of food for freezer when you have the time…

We did this weeks leading up to the birth. Lentil and bean patties for me, lasagne and other stuff for Colleen. Now when I have time I also cook big patches of food on one day on the weekend so we can eat it throughout the week. This means we don’t have to resort to eating junk.

The other week I made eight serves of eggplant-potato bake, five serves of vegetable soup and eight serves of Mexican beans. During the week all we have to do is heat stuff up and add vegetables, rice and what not. Simple, easy and quicker than a fistfight between Bruce Wayne and Wayne Newton.

I also cook a shit-ton of chickpeas for protein and my usual lunches for work. And yes, we have brownies in the freezer too.

…Or use a meal delivery service

We got a gift voucher for a meal delivery service and it made things a whole heap easier for the first week or two. Did the same as above by adding fresh veg for each meal. 


Being healthy doesn’t have to be that difficult and complicated. But, for this to work health and wellbeing has to be a priority.

This shit won’t sort itself out without discipline.

 

 

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